- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is taking his game to the next level.

The charismatic junior announced Wednesday he will give up his senior season and enter this springs NFL Draft. The school planned a late afternoon teleconference for Heyward-Bey to discuss his decision.

Heyward-Bey, long considered a possibility to turn professional a year early, is well-known for the speed that made him an attractive option when Maryland recruited him out of Baltimores McDonogh School. But hes worked on route-running and technique throughout his career, with both gradually improving.

As a junior, he was not quite as prolific as expected, catching 42 passes for 609 yards, both down from his career high numbers set a year earlier. He caught five touchdowns and ran for another this season.

Heyward-Bey finished second in school history in receiving yards (2,089) and third in both receptions (138) and touchdown receptions (13).

Although it was considered a possibility all along, Heyward-Bey restricted the decision-making process to only a few people. He said last month he planned for his mother and aunt, as well as Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen and offensive coordinator James Franklin, to help him make his choice.

I think Chris Turner or Danny [Oquendo] said someone asked them Darrius is a real private person; so, has Darrius told you anything?’” Heyward-Bey said last month. “He was like You answered your question. And I am. Ive always been that way.”

Heyward-Bey joins a wide receiver class that already includes North Carolinas Hakeem Nicks and Rutgers Kenny Britt, another pair of early entrants. Texas Techs Michael Crabtree, Floridas Percy Harvin and Missouris Jeremy Maclin also could turn pro before the Jan. 15 deadline.

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